UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024

Post Name : UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024
Post Date :  09 May , 2024
Post Description : The Civil Services Mains examination is the second stage of the UPSC CSE exam. Candidates shortlisted in UPSC Prelims 2024 will be eligible for the UPSC Mains Exam 2024. This is one of the most important stages since it has significant weightage in the final merit list.

UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024 Overview

The UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024 is intended to assess students’ analytical and critical thinking abilities, which are required for civil services. The UPSC CSE Mains is a descriptive-type stage with nine papers in total. An outline of the UPSC Mains exam pattern is provided below:

UPSC CSE Mains Exam Pattern 2024
Particular Details 
Exam NameUPSC Civil Services (Main) Examination
Type of ExamMerit-Based
Number of Papers9
Question FormatDescriptive
Total ShiftsTwo
Time Duration3 Hours
Total Marks1750

Also check : UPSC Prelims Application Date 2025

Detailed UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024

The UPSC Mains is the second stage of the UPSC Civil Services Examination, following qualification in the UPSC Prelims. Here’s a detailed overview of the UPSC Mains Exam Pattern for 2024:

  1. Question Papers: Shortlisted candidates will write answers to nine descriptive types of question papers.
  2. Duration: Each paper is allotted 3 hours for completion.
  3. Paper Distribution:
    • Two Qualifying Papers: Worth 300 marks each.
    • Seven Merit Papers: Worth 250 marks each.
  4. Total Marks Considered: The total score out of 1750 marks will be considered for the final merit list, also known as the final result.
  5. Qualifying Criteria:
    • In Qualifying Papers: Candidates must score a minimum of 25% (75 marks out of 300) to qualify. Failure to do so will result in the non-evaluation of other papers.
    • In Merit Papers: Candidates must score at least 10% marks (25 marks out of 250) to be eligible for the cutoff.
  6. List of Papers:
    1. Compulsory Indian Language
    2. English
    3. Essay
    4. General Studies I
    5. General Studies II
    6. General Studies III
    7. General Studies IV
    8. Optional Paper I
    9. Optional Paper II
  7. Compulsory Indian Language Paper (Paper A):
    • Not mandatory for candidates from Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim, as well as those with hearing impairment.

The UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024 emphasizes a comprehensive evaluation of candidates across various subjects and skills essential for administrative roles. Candidates must prepare diligently to excel in each paper and meet the qualifying criteria to proceed further in the selection process.

Detailed UPSC Mains Exam Pattern 2024 
PaperSubjectNature of PaperTime AllottedTotal Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian LanguageQualifying3 hours300
Paper BEnglishQualifying3 hours300
Paper IEssayFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper IIGeneral Studies IFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies IIFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper IVGeneral Studies IIIFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper VGeneral Studies IVFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper VIOptional IFinal Merit3 hours250
Paper VIIOptional IIFinal Merit3 hours250
Total Marks1750

UPSC Mains Exam Structure 2024

The UPSC Mains Exam in 2024 comprises two shifts where candidates attempt nine papers. The shifts are categorized as the forenoon session and the afternoon session. Each paper consists of descriptive-type questions, with a time limit of 3 hours for completion. Here’s a breakdown of the general pattern of the UPSC Mains question papers:

  1. Essay Paper:

    • Candidates write 2 essays, each carrying 125 marks.
    • Two sections with 4 topics each are provided, from which candidates choose one topic per section.
  2. General Studies I, II, and III Papers:

    • Consist of 10 questions worth 15 marks each and 10 questions worth 10 marks each.
    • All questions are mandatory in the General Studies papers.
  3. General Studies IV Paper (Ethics Paper):

    • Divided into two sections: A and B.
    • Section A comprises approximately 15 questions, each carrying 10 marks.
    • Section B consists of 6 case studies, each carrying 20 marks.
  4. Optional Papers 1 and 2:

    • Each paper has 8 questions with varying weights: 10, 15, and 20 marks respectively.

The UPSC Mains Exam Structure for 2024 emphasizes a comprehensive assessment of candidates’ knowledge, analytical abilities, and ethical reasoning. Candidates must effectively manage their time and demonstrate proficiency across diverse subject areas to excel in the examination.

UPSC Mains Exam Structure 2024
Forenoon Session Afternoon Session
9:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M
Paper-I: EssayNo Paper
Paper-II: General Studies-IPaper-III: General Studies-II
Paper-IV: General Studies-IIIPaper-V: General Studies-IV
Next Weekend
Paper-A: Indian LanguagePaper-B: English
Paper-VI: Optional Paper 1Paper-VII: Optional Paper 2

UPSC Mains Optional Subjects List 2024

For optional papers of UPSC Mains, candidates are allowed to select from the list of 48 UPSC optional subjects including literature subjects. For instance, if any candidate has selected Chemistry as an optional subject, then he or she will have to appear in Chemistry Paper 1 and Chemistry Paper 2 as optional subject papers. Here is the list of subjects that can be selected for the UPSC Mains optional paper as per the latest notification:

UPSC Mains Optional Subjects List 2024
Optional SubjectsLiterature Langauge Subjects
  1. Agriculture
  2. Anthropology
  3. Chemistry
  4. Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
  5. Botany
  6. Geology
  7. Law
  8. Mathematics
  9. History
  10. Management
  11. Psychology
  12. Sociology
  13. Zoology
  14. Public Administration
  15. Statistics
  16. Commerce and Accountancy
  17. Electrical Engineering
  18. Civil Engineering
  19. Economics
  20. Geography
  21. Medical Science
  22. Physics
  23. Mechanical Engineering
  24. Philosophy
  25. Political Science and International Relations
  26. Any literature subject from the approved list.
  1. Bengali
  2. Dogri
  3. Hindi
  4. Kashmiri
  5. Maithili
  6. Manipuri
  7. Nepali
  8. Punjabi
  9. Santhali
  10. Tamil
  11. Urdu
  12. Assamese
  13. Bodo
  14. Gujarati
  15. Kannada
  16. Konkani
  17. Malayalam
  18. Marathi
  19. Odia
  20. Sanskrit
  21. Sindhi
  22. Telugu
  23. English

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